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the latest news on faith-based manipulation, North Korea, the Mideast, Iraq policy, violence in Sri Lanka, the United Nations security council elections, and election politics in Pennsylvania

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Faith-based Initiatives. Allegations by former White House official David Kuo include, among other things the shocking claim that Bush aides ‘mocked evangelicals.’ “A new book by a former U.S. official says President Bush’s top political advisers privately ridiculed evangelical leaders, while publicly embracing them.” A 60 Minutes interview adds fuel to the fire.

North Korea. Analysis of Air Particles Confirms N. Korea Test “U.S. intelligence confirmed today that North Korea conducted a nuclear test on Oct. 9, saying that ‘radioactive debris’ was detected in air samples from a relatively small atomic blast. … There was no immediate official explanation for the relatively small size of the nuclear blast, which was many times smaller than the explosions from the atomic bombs dropped on Japan at the end of World War II.”

Mideast. Gaza arms buildup brings Israeli raids: “The lessons of the war between Israel and Hizbullah this summer have led the Israeli establishment to some new conclusions: Waiting while a neighbor arms itself is out; preemptive attacks may be the new norm.”

Iraq. Top U.S. inquiry to call for Iraq policy change “U.S. policy in Iraq is not working and George Bush should consider radical changes, according to a top-level panel backed by the president. With the White House coming under increasing pressure over the carnage in Iraq, the recommendations from the bipartisan 10-member panel, led by former secretary of state James Baker, could provide political cover for Mr. Bush, should he decide to change course.” Panel to Seek Change on Iraq “Two options under consideration would represent reversals of U.S. policy: withdrawing American troops in phases, and bringing neighboring Iran and Syria into a joint effort to stop the fighting.”

Sri Lanka. Scores Are Killed in Attack on Sri Lankan Convoy “Ninety-nine people were killed in Sri Lanka today when a suicide bomber rammed a truck into a convoy of buses carrying naval personnel, according to a government statement. … The attack took place as foreign envoys were arriving in Sri Lanka to discuss the prospects for a lasting peace. It was the latest flare-up in the island nation, where the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have fought for independence from the ethnic Sinhalese majority for more than 20 years.”

United Nations. Guatemala Leads Venezuela in U.N. Vote “Guatemala topped Venezuela in the first four rounds of voting Monday for a U.N. Security Council seat, but it failed to get the necessary two-thirds majority to win a two-year term on the powerful United Nations body. … Guatemala has the support of Colombia, apparently most of Central America, Europe and other countries. Some diplomats had expressed concern that Washington’s support might actually hurt its bid by turning the contest into a U.S. vs. Chavez battle. Venezuela has served four times on the Security Council. Guatemala, emerging from years of brutal U.S.-backed dictatorship, has never had a seat but is a leading contributor of troops to U.N. peacekeeping missions.”

Politics. GOP on a Mission to Save Santorum “It is a four-alarm fire for conservatives, who are bringing water buckets from all corners of the political world. Across Pennsylvania, pastors are preparing to stuff voter guides into their Sunday bulletins. … If 2006 turns into the electoral romp for Democrats that many analysts now are predicting, a loss by Santorum would be a signifier of the end of that Republican revolution.”

Ryan Beiler is Web Editor for Sojourners and is filling for Duane Shank as today’s news compiler.

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